Of suicide and life’s substance

*email updated. Just for you…

I have talked about suicide here before, but there is an awkward space that one enters after when you choose to fight for your life.

You’re very aware you cannot kill yourself no matter how well you plan it or merely think it is the way out. But then you also look at your life and are in limbo, you know it has meaning but the details are a bit sketchy- and we don’t like sketchy. You have a lot to be thankful for but you’re super sad- it’s weird, right?

If you read this and you’re in that space, know that you’re not alone. We are legion. I don’t have an answer but I find that a burden shared is sometimes lighter.


wambairemaureen@gmail.com. If you have absolutely no one to talk to, I am here for you. I promise to never air your business. I do also hope you understand that we are our own savior because we have God within us. So, if you do share, I can only listen to the best of my ability and share whatever wisdom I have picked up along the way. But above all, see a professional therapist or psychiatrist. They are equipped to help us out- I am a testament that they work.

If you’re absolutely fine and you know someone who isn’t, share this with them. It just might help.

Don’t despair.

Cheers.

When Kings make mistakes: the value of a woman’s voice

My Facebook timeline this week (pretty much since it came into existence but hey) had me thinking just how much we still both overtly and subtly chisel women down. It’s more overt when we do things we’ve been “taught” by the patriarchy not to do. Preferred tool of choice? Shame. Which brings me to “nagging.”

So it’s said this year the yawning emoji will be launched, and of course there’s memes about it. The one that just made me sign was the one about men sending this emoji to women who send those “stupid long paragraphs.”

Well.

I am the kind of woman who sends long paragraphs when I need someone to understand something. I am a believer of context and in removing ignorance about how I wish to be treated. And since we’re throwing shade, if I send you long paragraphs more than twice in one month, I am usually a step away from using crayons to aptly illustrate my point. I am usually, at this point, frustrated and angry. Not talking about it, ignoring it and continuing to do the same thing I brought up, to me, is a sign of disrespect.

#TimesUp

But as women we’ve been told not to nag. STILL. We are more vocal, but that’s still there, only this time different words are thrown around.

We’ve been told men don’t like long stories. Men don’t like being told when they are wrong. First seduce and feed him, then sweetly tell him what about his behavior is affecting you and what you’d like done differently. If he changes, reward him. If he doesn’t, you should still treat him like a king. Also, if you can ignore it, please do. For the sake of peace. You don’t want to be the reason he steps out of your union. If you don’t keep quiet he’ll go find another woman that appreciates him for who he is.

~~~~~

Ciru Ngigi had started a conversation on Facebook many months about children and daughters specifically being angry at their mothers for the men they chose to marry. I wrote or asked something in the comment section and this lady DM me. We talked quite a bit; she made me realize that for the most part, family dynamics are toxic. But there’s something she said that pains me till today. Her husband will insist on having sex even when she doesn’t want to, and when she is in pain. She has no choice but to be quiet for the sake of her daughters. We’ve been taught, “If it’s your husband, it’s not rape. So keep quiet and don’t try to bring drama.” 

~~~~~

Men can talk about your outfit, body, mothering skills, cooking, working, not working, temper, attitude, vagina size, weakness, speaking up, number of sex partners, where you’ve been, whether you deserved to be harassed or raped, menstrual cycle, how many kids you do or don’t have, character, HAIR, mental health, hormones, curves or lack there off, outfit, drinking, partying, praying, being a wife material or nah- and God forbid you tell him how communication is important to you.

I’ve been told a lot of things by male age mates that have stuck with me but for this context I’ll tell you two. 1) “Wambaire, don’t be those chicks” after calling out bad behavior. 2) Men are the head and women are the neck. Aka men are meant to think for women so we have to run decisions about OUR lives by a man first.  

I’ve been character assassinated and blue ticked for pointing out things that dishonor me. You’d think I’d tweeted “@blah your penis ain’t shit” and send a screenshot to his family group.

Before we get into the whole “that’s not a real man” narrative, let’s look at the wider context of what the woman faces. If you’re not married and with no kids (or do) in your late 20s, it’s like you’ve attracted such characters since your campus days. Not all men are like this, duh. However, these snide remarks and memes I see online let me know that there’s contempt against women who dare point out something a man does that’s making them unhappy.

Here’s the cream for me; the sketches and memes about the “crazy” chick. The one who breaks up with her man for not responding promptly? And how dare she do that? Never mind your phone is always in your hands when you two are together. And this is just one example.

What I am tired of is how women being told to shut up has morphed now more so into “humor” and gas-lighting so that men can still be mostly PC when they say “it’s just a joke”. That disclaimer is lest the feminist movement comes after them so they can say “it’s not about you, it’s about THOSE chicks.” And when you push hard enough, you’re now the problem for having no humor and maybe, just maybe, you are those chicks because look at you acting crazy.

Like, as in, it’s 2019. We haven’t grown past high school?

#metoo and #timesup are amazing, but my timeline tells me plenty of men are raising little boys like them. Boys who’ll silence my daughter if she dares say what makes her unhappy and she values. Because it’ll mean she wants and needs to be heard.

And what would be the value of her voice anyway?

Don’t make the monkeys dance; take them back home

“Not my monkey, not my circus”

I think that every spiritual journey comes with a moment where someone fell off the face of the earth. The lawyer who owned a Ferrari sold it off and went to become a monk. Elizabeth Gilbert went off to Bali. Jesus didn’t have these luxuries so he went to the wilderness. I also feel nuns disappear of ages before resurfacing- you’d think they all enter into service in their mid to late 30s.

I have a friend who drops off the grid months at a time. She’s taken Lent seriously, and on the Ash Wednesday I wished her a Happy Easter. She might want to prologue her leave from the world.

And then there are people like me and you. We have things we are tied to and we don’t have the time to go off for large chucks of time to be by ourselves. So we find ourselves praying for plans to get cancelled and snob calls because we need silence. It worked for Oprah. Woman was on air every day for what, 25 years?

~~~~~

The reason I don’t like other Christians aka my fellow brethren and sister-ren is because we are a huge pile of mess. You’d think the sinner’s prayer was a cotton swap that wipes your foolishness, crazy making, fornicating, cheating, murdering, adultery-ing, lying, and corrupt, hating and gossiping self. Like you’d think that, no? The reason I don’t like them is because I am trained not to like them, because I have been trained not to like myself.

Be like Jesus, they say. If I was to remove the fact that we are called into a son ship with God and Jesus is my brother, I am nothing like Jesus. NOTHING. The older I get and more frustrated I become with my reality, the more I want to crawl into the hole these enlightened people crawled into. And it’s not even because the world is crazy. Unless you are self-harming and have problematic thought patterns, sinning without involving other parties is HARD! Like what will you do? Rob yourself?

That brings me to this realization. When you are transforming and going hard on the inner or spiritual journey, you are SENSITIVE on levels that you can’t even believe. I have become like my grandmother.

When I was young we’d go to the village over holidays for a few days to weeks. Now my Nairobi body needed lotion-ing, not Aremis, after a bath if we were going somewhere. I can’t remember what I was getting from the outside kitchen that was so smoke-filled that I could barely see my grandma. But before I was two steps in, I heard her say in my mother tongue, “HM! Get out! I cannot stand that perfume!”

It took shooing by an aunt to realize she was referring to the lotion I had on.

That’s me right now, but with bull-dung.

~~~~~

Spiritual journey do not come from a place of feeling high and mighty and better than the rest. It is distorted to mean such when the reality is people take these journeys to deal with things within themselves and to elevate to a higher experience of living. It is becoming so acquitted with the bull-dung within yourself that you spot it in a heartbeat within others.

There is a tricky balance I am yet to get to. I often tell people “not everyone thinks like you” and “if I was born in their shoes I would probably be the same” to quell their rant, especially if I feel they are being utterly self-righteous. And dah, I don’t always take my advice.

I want to see people as they are, bull-dung and all, and still feeling compassion toward them.

Right now I am not there. Don’t even pray to ask God, I am telling you. And I think it is time we started having honest conversations about what happens on the journey to being more like Jesus. If someone had told me about this mess I wouldn’t be ignoring calls and messages. I would have just taken myself to the wilderness and come back when I had some sense of balance.

Sheesh!

I should write a book one day about things I wish I knew before I made the conscious decision to be a Christian. Sigh.

Point is, if your spiritual journey, Christian or not, is looking some type of way, that’s normal. Levitating cross-legged is for the movies.

Cheers.

Yep. Christians are not exempted from bad life experiences

Before I say how story books, Disney movies and everything I watched where evil triumphs all was partly a sham, I’d like us to be clear. Life can be painfully hard.

~~~~~

I think there is a watered down Christian narrative we follow. I am not talking about prosperity gospel; there are renowned preachers I watch and ask God if he’ll allow them entrance into heaven. And then I remind myself not to be judgmental toad. I am talking about the sunshine and happy rays perspective presented.

“Follow God and all will be well!”

You’d think that the first people to get the Holy Spirit on earth would get a pass and not be boiled in hot oil, hang upside down or beheaded. But please, tell me more about how fabulous the Christian life is!

I won’t lie. It is fabulous. You’d think I was mocking the process the entire time. No, life can be quite rubbish, but the reason why most people are not articulate about it is because the truth will make you run. If people had told me the path to self-awareness and closeness to the Holy Spirit was this hard, I would have done one of two things. I would have said no thanks. Otherwise I would have done something I wish I could have done; braced myself.

~~~~~

I have a tattoo; feel free to throw scripture that makes you believe I am going to hell. Please, especially because should your husband die and you have no children, you DON’T have to get yourself a kinsman redeemer. That refers to you having to marry and give birth by your husband’s male relative. I’m sorry; who did you think Boaz was? LOL!

Where was I? My bad; I have a tattoo. There were two things I was upset about. The first was the symbolism. The second was how I had not anticipated the extent of pain. I hoped that my younger brother had said how painful it would be. Like on a scale of one to ten. I thought it was a 6 at most. For me it was an eight but there is something about the lack of knowing what’s coming that throws me off and has me calling my ancestors. Never mind I have sensitive skin. I currently have a bruise on my hip I’m like “what pillow hit you?”

~~~~~

If you are reading this and you are ish ish about your relationship with God but you are considering this, I urge you to go the other way. “But Wambaire! You should bring-“ You know that life with Christ is worth more than anything on the planet. However, if you think that getting to a healthy place in both your soul and spirit (no, those are not synonymous; they are dealt with separately) will be easy, this is not for you.

You will hit rock bottom with the top of your head. You will have a bad marriage, a child with terminal illness. You will end up in hospital on life support, you will have people betray you. You will have no friends and you will be lonely.

But God- He’s so worth it. If you don’t believe me though, you keep doing you. You and I will have the same experiences (who thought a suicidal Christian was a thing?) but I’m here fighting mosquitoes and at peace that I am in the best head space I have been all my life.

My point is; beware.

Cheers.

Don’t scratch the scab

I can’t pinpoint when the change happened, but as with everything, it was probably a bit at a time. The river that is my life eventually wore down a bolder in the way and proceeded to flow freely. It could be the wakeup call after being at the underside of rock bottom and swearing not to go back there. It could be that I am healing. It could be many things, but even that I won’t fuss about.

~~~~~

When I don’t get my way, I merely move on. Before it was an entire struggle; an inner dialogue of why they did not respond to my text. It was wondering what about my company would have people overlook me entirely. It was a pity-party of how I was a loner and no one cared. Now, it’s a shrug and we look for something else to do. It’s like noticing you’re out of coffee and opt for tea. Not the same effect but satisfies the itch.

That is one of the many examples of healing I’ve seen.

And it is weird.

~~~~~

Sabotage; our dear old friend

I noticed as humans we have the capacity to seek out drama. Before you blame everyone around you, check your boundaries. You just could be the one allowing drama. In a sense, I was a low key crazy-maker. I would poke at something to see how it reacts. It was more out of boredom than malice. Or honestly put, it was the idea that most people work off from; it’s better if someone yelled at you than them giving you the silent treatment. Effects of neglect in childhood; and yes, we are all broken and busted. It’s part of the human experience.

Even as I come into my own and love myself and company more, I’m finding that I’m kinda bored. I find the stillness and the peace weird. It is like having on a super gorgeous outfit that fits perfectly and still feel uncomfortable. Stop touching it, it’s fine!

If this doesn’t make sense, that’s quite alright- shelf it for when it does. If it does it’s likely you are healing and lack of turmoil, pain, anger and frustration and the kind is strange. Before you slide into his or her DM looking for closure or whatever other foolish reason you conjure up, go see about the tension in Cameroon between the French and English speakers. There are a thousand different things to do other than go looking for disappointment.

They haven’t changed. By the way. In case you were wondering.

So what’s the lesson?

There is stillness and peace in healing. It also feels like a lot of nothing happening. However, rest. You’ll need it when it’s time to face the world anew. It’s boring but necessary, so don’t ruin it.

Note to self.

For when you’re so stuck, that your stuck is stuck.

I found humor in my journey, along with the awareness that I am crazy and a lot to handle. I think I had been too modest about my ability to go off on people like a firecracker when I found them to be displaying “bad manners” LOL!

Therapy has been a big help, certainly something I will advocate for the rest of my life. Why? Because those who meet me in the future have a lot less to handle. Ha! However, until my session last week I had not understood the source of my stuckness.

Now that I have, boy am I letting it rip!

~~~~~

I was the type of person to continue texting and calling a guy who treated me anyhow because I liked them. I was the type to hold on to friends that had no business being my friend because I always got the short end of the stick. I was the type not to set boundaries with my folks and as a result, I, the grass, suffered. I was the type to not know how to handle my emotions, so I found solace at the bottom of a bottle of something hard. Saying “no” was impossible as well.

I am perhaps still all these things to a degree. I believe in supernatural turnarounds, but it just might take me practice to become completely unstuck because it’s been years of this crap.

~~~~~

When you don’t know better, you cannot be and do better.

That is my understanding of unsticking my stuckness. For years I have been pursuing justice I will never get for the wrongs done to me from when I was a child. For years I let the anger eat me up, leaving me stuck in patterns that had me questioning my sanity. In hindsight, I remained in trash relationships because I wanted THEM to see what THEY were doing wrong so they can apologize, change and treat me better.

Yea… no.

Courtesy: Seek Logo

There is a release in understanding our history. The theory of psychoanalysis in therapy speaks on unearthing forgotten things of the past to explain our present selves. But only a small number of us ever will.

(Here is what they don’t tell you about the process: It is as painful as you can imagine. Only worse. The emotional pain gets so bad you can feel it in your elbow LOL! But think of it as exercise; there’s a price to pay to get healthy.)

If you noticed you have been doing, thinking or saying some dumb things for years and can’t seem to get unstuck, venture to the past. Forget the facts, and sit in the emotions of the little child that you were. Cry, wail, say how angry you are.

So no, you weren’t born this way; the world just landed your soul a blow at birth; that’s why it is deformed and bleeding.

Yes, life sucks, but keep swimming.

Learning to walk depression “alone”

Before you raise your eyebrows, hear me out.

I cannot take full credit for the recovery I’ve had thus far. I have God, friends, a therapist, my parents etc. who have helped me along. However, there are journeys you have to walk alone.

~~~~~

The first few years of life significantly shape your life. Sigmund Freud on his theory of psychoanalysis talks extensively about this, but there are some places he appeared to have missed the point entirely. He was convinced that everyone, like him, fights with feelings of attraction for their parents. In his case, he was sexually attracted to his mother. He had plenty of demons, including battling illnesses, brought about mental health.

It is the likes of Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung, Freud’s students, and Eric Ericson who took the theory a step further. Eric broke it down to the stages of life; it is more of the experiences we refer to now, including the phases of finding one’s identity and self-actualization. There are other theories that I am yet to read that counseling psychologists use, but I found this one in particular helpful.

~~~~~

My mom worked for the first six+ months of my life. That meant house helps, and if the horrors we’ve heard are to go by, my dad once rushed me to the hospital suffering from dehydration. I was a fantastic sleeper, and somewhere along the way, I learned to suck my finger to soothe myself. In those early months and years, I learned to be my support system. Imagine waking up, crying for attention for hours, and yet no one comes. I seem to have resulted to silence. Cry, if no one comes, suck my finger and move on.

This is the story of many people who didn’t have the best of caretakers when their parents were out hustling. I think it was soon after the incident with me that my mother opted to quit her job and stay at home for a while. My elder brother had my mother’s sisters present, so he was alright. My younger brother had a stay-home mother; she quit her job a few months before he was born.

~~~~~

I learned to figure my things out, and while that worked as a child to save me tears, it is not the best approach now. There are pros and cons to it though. In the past year, I have learned to ask for help. Before I would act out and hope someone would take notice and do something. Now I know to speak and ask for what I need. Asking my dad to find me a therapist for me was a milestone.


However-


No one around me extensively understands depression and suicide; just one person and because they have their fight to fight, I cannot burden them. Others have a general idea, but nothing about a deep hole, a cloud and the loss of hope. If you are in a similar situation, I am sure you are very aware of how lonely that makes you feel. I’ve had to rely on those self-soothing methods I learned as a kid, only they haven’t always been healthy- sucking my finger earned me braces 10 years in.

If you are in this dark space, you might not want to hear this, but you are your best friend and hope of getting through. You have to give yourself what you need actively. How easy is that? It is not; it is still something I struggle with. Taking myself for a pedicure two days ago was an internal struggle. Am I wasting money? Should your broke self not be saving? Finally, I realized that I was in a low space; staying in my room would have made me feel worse. However, pretty feet would cheer me up. What is better?

You too have to give yourself what you need. Buy that candle, go by street food, stay in bed all day watching comedy. Do small actions that lift your mood. Your family, friends, partner and pretty much everyone will not be there for you round the clock. Learn to be there for yourself when they are not present.

You are a better ally to yourself than the voices are telling you.

We are wired for love; send some your way beloved.